He did not live to see his first year, but I honor every year on the very first day I held him and the first day he held me. Our dance was so brief, but our song continues. He lived on this earth for eight and a half months and lives in me every day.

Benjamin May 12 Hidden treasuresWhen Bryan died he left a part of himself with me. I carry his signature into every moment. The lens I see through has the curvature that is a reflection of his beautiful spirit. I am the witness of a more expansive understanding of love because I love, and will always love, the human born of spirit on this day that Lydia and I named Bryan.

I have said on numerous occasions that when someone I love dies a part of me goes with them and a part of them stays with me. Bryan was the first to bring me to such a realization. And earlier this week, I realized even more. I realized what else Bryan has left for me and where else Bryan has taken me.

The week before the anniversary of Lydia, Matt or Bryan’s births or deaths are a time of deep refection for me. It is not marked by a calendar. These days I don’t even see coming. But about a week ago I felt that familiar drop into a deeper space. I looked at the calendar and it was then I knew why. I had entered this tender part of my Afterloss. Bryan’s birthday was in seven days.

I take these days slower. I rest in reflection. I move with greater intentionality. I live in remembrance. I bow deeper in the presence of love’s precious gift.

On Saturday, I was going about my normal routine. Nothing internally or externally was unusual that night. There was an “aha” moment that came out of the blue. Something I have been dwelling on for over thirty-five years unfolded and I entered a deeper layer of life.

I do not believe it is by accident or a simple coincidence that this epiphany occurred during this week of deeper reflection. Bryan left me many gifts, but the greatest gift he left me was the expanse of his spirit. While Bryan was in his body, the doctors called it “failure to thrive.” In his eight and half months he never could hold his head up on his own. He never crawled. His body remained as an infant and did not grow.

Bryan was in constant pain. When he was awake, he cried. Pain medication lasted for about a half an hour and we were not able to give him his next dose for four hours. Exhaustion was his only reprieve from the faint wails that marked his moments. Exhaustion was my only reprieve, too.

Yet, Bryan’s eyes were deep. His spirit was strong and expansive. When he looked at me, he looked into me, through me and to the core of me. And when I looked at him, I looked into him, through him and to the core of him. We held each other in a different place, in a different time. We held each other in pain, but we embraced each other in the vastness of love.

Bryan was born of the expanse and returned to the expanse. He took a part of me into something far greater than both of us. He left a part of him into something far greater than me. On Saturday night, my moment of clarity ushered in a new way of relating to life that I believe is directly related to Bryan, this human born of spirit.

Nothing is stagnant. The ever-unfolding part of Bryan in my life will continue till my life unfolds beyond this plane of existence. I am perpetually stumbling across hidden treasures of the ones I love. Rare is the day I do not grow in my relationship with life due to the presence of Lydia, Matt or Bryan. Presences not born of past-tense, but present tense.

I am aware of the different textures of time and space. I knew last Saturday night something had profoundly shifted in my relationship with life. I feel it to the very core of my being and in that core, I heard Bryan singing our song.

I am a reflection of all that I experience. Bryan was born today many years ago. We danced together in our brevity, but the song that is unconstrained by the briefness of our embrace continues to play for us. Bryan was one of my greatest teachers and he still is. Today, I celebrate Bryan and my gratefulness for what began ages ago still guides me everywhere I go.

I still hum a tune that Bryan taught me a long, long time ago. Happy Birthday Bryan!


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